8

There is a theory held by some that Ancient Egypt had a degree of monotheism (A certain Emmanuel de Rougé even going as far as saying, in 1839, "The Egyptian religion is a pure monotheism, which manifested itself externally by a symbolic polytheism."). I do not agree with the theory, but am interested in three quotes I keep encountering.

Heinrich Karl Brugsch supposedly found these in ancient Egyptian writings:

God is one and alone, and none other existeth with Him

And

God is the eternal One, He is eternal and infinite and endureth for ever and aye

And

God is merciful unto those who reverence Him, and He heareth him that calleth upon Him. God knoweth him that acknowledgeth Him, He rewardeth him that serveth Him, and He protecteth him that followeth Him

These quotes are from Dr. Brugsch's Religion und mythologie der alten Aegypter of 1887 but is unfortunately in German so I can't read it and doesn't seem to have many actual hieroglyphics in it.

Can anyone find the original source of these Ancient Egyptian quotes and write them out in Hieroglyphics and provide their pronunciation?

[He puts footnote 103 after listing these quotes, which has this reference]

[]

  • 1
    I'm on a mobile phone, so someone else will need to do the hieroglyphs etc, but it is an old reading of the texts. You can read more in Budge, although his work has also been superseded by later research. – sempaiscuba Dec 12 '17 at 14:56
  • 2
    Curious what @sempaiscuba comes up with. But in the meantime, note that the two aren't necessarily as mutually-exclusive as one might think. NW Semitic El was both their word for "a god", as well as "The God" (even though there were other gods, El was usually special). Egyptian was also Semitic, but not NW Semitic, so there's been speculation about relations between El and the Egyptian pantheon. – T.E.D. Dec 12 '17 at 18:53
  • 2
    One may cite Maspero's footnote 1 on p. 193 of his "La Mythologie Egyptienne", found by @sempaiscuba (see below): "1. M. Brugsch a été la première victime de son système de renvois. Il a oublié d'insérer á leur place une vingtaine de notes dont les numèros de rappel existent dans son texte; il a même répété plusieurs numéros. Ainsi le n° 101 figure á la page 92 et á la page 95 ; si on se reporte á la partie correspondante des notes, on voit que M. Brugsch arrête les notes de la première partie au n° 83 (p. 746)." – tohuwawohu Jan 31 '18 at 17:56
  • 2
    Just one additional comment: The first edition lacks the first part's endnotes 84 to 103, too. It's available online, provided by the University of Leipzig: nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-0011-136710 – tohuwawohu Jan 31 '18 at 18:01
  • 2
    @tohuwawohu Absolutely! For non-French speakers: "Brugsch was the first victim of his referencing system. He forgot to insert about twenty notes, whose reference numbers exist in his text, in their place; he even repeated several numbers. Thus No. 101 appears on page 92 and on page 95; if we refer to the corresponding part of the notes, we see that Mr. Brugsch stops the notes to the first part at No. 83." I'd say that's a salutary lesson to us all! – sempaiscuba Jan 31 '18 at 19:34
6

You are not alone in being frustrated by the lack of sources in Brugsch's text. As far back as 1893, in a paper titled La Mythologie Egyptienne, in his book, Études de mythologie et d'archéologie égyptiennes (in French), the famous Egyptologist, Gaston Maspero, also lamented the fact that Brugsch chose not to identify his sources individually!

As for Brugsch himself, on page 746 of Religion und mythologie der alten Aegypter he seems to claim that the quotes are taken from ägyptische zeitschrift, which I'd assume refers to Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, one of the oldest - if not the oldest - Egyptology journals.

The first 59 volumes of Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, covering the period from 1863-1924, are available online at the Internet Archive. Since Brugsch's book was published in 1891, this covers the period we are interested in.

Now, German isn't my first language (I would by no means consider myself to be fluent in the language!) but I've checked every article by Brugsch from 1863 to 1895 and wasn't able to locate the quotes used in his book. I'd guess that I am following in the footsteps of Maspero in that regard.

All I can do at this stage is to echo Maspero in his lamentation that Brugsch chose not to identify his sources individually!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.